The US Consulate in Nigeria has raised an alarm over what it described as “a notable increase in crime in Lagos” and warned American citizens either residing or planning to come to the state to take extra security precautions.
The warning was issued in a “security alert” notice published on the US Embassy website on Monday.
According to the US Consulate, there have been increasing reports of robberies by armed persons, especially around the Ikoyi and Victoria Island areas of Lagos, considered to be the dwelling places for the country’s wealthy and expatriates.
It noted that a large number of such robberies occur at night, although there have been reports of such incidents also occurring during the day.
The notice read: “The U.S. Consulate General in Lagos has recently seen a notable increase in crime in Lagos. Reports of robberies/smash-and-grabs on the roads by armed men have increased significantly on both Ikoyi and Victoria Island.
“Typically, men on a motorcycle will follow a vehicle until it stops at a traffic light or intersection then approach the vehicle, present a weapon, and rob the occupants. Although most of these incidents happen at night, the U.S. Consulate General in Lagos has received reports of robberies taking place during daylight hours.”
The notice urged all US citizens to be aware of its surroundings in Lagos, especially when driving at night.
It provided 10 personal safety trips for its citizens to follow, including keeping vehicle doors locked and windows rolled up at all times while driving, especially in traffic jams or at traffic lights, avoiding driving alone at night and do not stop to help strangers on the road, ensuring that valuables such as cash, laptops, phones, cameras, bags, etc. are kept out of sight and avoid walking alone at night.
The US Consulate also “recommends that everyone consider the necessity of travel after 22:00 (10 pm)”.
It further asked its citizens to “keep a low profile, stay alert in public places, including schools, hospitals, government facilities, places of worship, tourist locations, and transportation hubs, review and alter travel routes and times to reduce time and place predictability” and “avoid crowds and demonstrations”.
It also asked them to monitor Nigeria’s media for security information and review its travel advisory for Nigeria published on 20 April in which it asked all Americans to “reconsider travel to Nigeria due to crime, terrorism, civil unrest, kidnapping, and maritime crime”.